Seven Ages: Mark Padmore, Roderick Williams, Julius Drake, Victoria Newlyn at Middle Temple Hall, Wednesday 21 July 2021
Reviewed by Claire Seymour of Opera Today
I hate to fall back on cliché, but this really was a ‘dream-team’ recital at Middle Temple Hall, in which tenor Mark Padmore, baritone Roderick Williams and pianist Julius Drake took us on a musical journey through life, complemented by literary readings narrated by actress and director Victoria Newlyn. From Shakespeare’s ‘infant,/ Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms’, we travelled through the trials of youth, adolescence and adulthood – discovery and fear, love and war, loss and regret – arriving at the quietude and wistfulness of old age. The journey closed with Raymond Carver’s contemplative assessment of man’s hopes and struggles – a poignant fragment of a whole life – and the twilight resignation and peace of Purcell’s evening hymn.